Pennsylvania budget talks hang on gambling bill

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/WHTM)  Pennsylvania lawmakers are still trying to figure out how they will pay for the state’s $32 billion spending plan.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said Saturday that there’s “more or less” an agreement on gambling legislation. However, a spokesman for House Republican leader Dave Reed says there are no agreements.

Anti-tax lawmakers are hoping for hundreds of millions of dollars from the gambling industry to help state government close a yawning deficit.

Discussions have focused on a provision allowing Pennsylvania’s licensed casinos to bid on licenses for up to 10 more mini-casinos in farther-flung areas. That’s after Senate support was lacking for a House-backed measure to allow slot-machine-style video terminals at thousands of bars, truck stops and private clubs.

The Senate will hold a session Sunday at 6 p.m. The House will reconvene Sunday at 3 p.m.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has until midnight Monday to make a decision on the main appropriations bill in a $32 billion budget package.

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